NIK about cooperation between government administration and NGOs

The majority of the audited ministries and provincial offices properly discharged their tasks related to cooperation with NGOs. The organisations were adequately selected for cooperation and granting of subsidies. Also, the organisations’ activity profile in competitions was selected in a way which enabled meeting objectives defined in the Programmes of cooperation. These are underlying documents which define the principles of cooperation between the government administration and non-governmental organisations.

The “Programmes of cooperation with non-governmental organisations” were prepared by most ministries and governors, following consultations with NGOs. In some cases, though, the Programmes were adopted on the dates which made it impossible for them to be effective from their effective dates. NIK has pointed out that none of the Programmes defined indicators or standards enabling real evaluation of their implementation, including the achievement of objectives set out in those documents. As a result, the evaluation of the Programmes’ implementation was limited to the analysis of numbers and values of granted subsidies and calculation of material effects achieved as part of subsidised projects.

The audited public institutions in most cases properly held NGOs to account for the performance of their public tasks. Single cases in two ministries and three provincial offices were an exception. NIK has noted, though, that the institutions do not control the use of subsidies on project implementation sites as often as required.

The NIK audit revealed improvement in the activity of the National Institute of Freedom since the 2019 audit. The audit in 2020 showed that the Institute discharged its tasks in line with applicable law and properly fulfilled its function of the Managing Authority of the government programmes to support the civil society development. The National Institute of Freedom implemented seven out of nine recommendations made by NIK after its audit in 2019.

In the majority of cases, NGOs complied with the terms of contracts on subsidising public tasks allocated to them. Irregularities were mostly related to running the register and accounting documentation and they occurred in half of the audited organisations. More significant irregularities were less frequent. The Slovak Association in Poland when constructing the Slovak Community Centre provided false information in their reports. Moreover, that task was performed not in compliance with the submitted offer and against the subsidy agreement. There were also two cases of double financing of tasks. Not all beneficiaries met their obligations related to information and promotion, defined in the performance contracts.

Most non-governmental organisations taking part in the questionnaire survey (72.8%) are satisfied with cooperation with the government administration. The majority of them seek financial support but also try to cooperate by taking part in consultations on legal acts, joint teams’ meetings or by taking benefit of honorary patronage. Small entities find it difficult to provide their own contribution. Issues include late notices of competitions (which leave one with little time to perform a task) as well as complex and non-transparent conditions of applying for subsidies. Many organisations stated that they experienced problems with obtaining information on competitions organised by the government administration and suggested improving the way of notifying the public about them, e.g. by creating a single platform with notices or standardising the way of providing information on the competitions.

NIK has positively evaluated tasks performed by the Government Commissioner for Civil Society as well as by the Chairman and the Public Benefit Committee. The Chancellery of the President of the Council of Ministers accordingly discharged its duties to support the Government Commissioner for Civil Society as well as the Chairman and the Public Benefit Committee.

Recommendations

The type of irregularities identified by the NIK audits in non-governmental organisations has pointed to the need for changes in the systems of supervision over beneficiaries adopted in the ministries and provincial offices, including verification of reports filed by beneficiaries.

NIK has recommended that the government administration bodies should:

  • strengthen supervision over public task performance by increasing the number of controls of subsidised projects (so-called project site inspections) and introduce effective mechanisms of controlling reports filed by beneficiaries;  
  • work out principles to prevent double financing of the same expenditures from public funds and guarantee their execution by adding relevant provisions to subsidy agreements;
  • develop guidelines specifying the principles of running a separate accounting register for funds and expenditures related to public task performance and guarantee their execution by adding relevant provisions to subsidy agreements.

NGOs should absolutely observe contractual provisions when performing public tasks allocated to them.

The Council of Ministers should take a legislative initiative to amend the Act on Public Benefit Activity and Voluntary Work in the following terms:

  • further specify provisions defining elements that should be included in the long-term programme for cooperation with non-governmental organisations;
  • defining indicators and standards in the Programmes of cooperation for the achievement of the Programmes’ specific objectives should be made obligatory.

Article informations

Date of creation:
07 July 2021 16:07
Date of publication:
07 July 2021 16:07
Published by:
Marta Połczyńska
Date of last change:
07 July 2021 16:07
Last modified by:
Marta Połczyńska
NGO acronym and a pile of hands in the gesture of cooperation © Adobe Stock

Read content once again